While I'm not known for my short stories, I'm starting to warm up to them primarily because of a number of projects that have forced me to try to sharpen my skills in the "limited words" arena. I recently wrote about my entry entitled "Traditions" that is in the Triumph Over Tragedy Anthology to aid Victims of Hurricane Sandy. So today I'd like to talk to you about another recently released anthology: The End: Visions of Apocalypse.
Like Triumph, I'm not earning anything off of this project, I did it to help others...in this case new fantasy and science fiction authors that are worth discovering. The project was started by N.E. White who runs monthly writing contests on sffworld a forum I often visit. Nila's idea was to do what many malls do, get a few large and popular "anchor" stores that draw crowds to lure people into the mall where other great stores are just waiting to be found.
Why Nila thought I would qualify as such an "anchor" in the world of speculative fiction, only she can answer, but she also was able to snag Hugh Howey whose success is just astronomical (and if you've not heard of Wool you need to crawl out from the cave you've been living in and go buy it). Also adding her talents to the piece was Tristis Ward, whose graphic novel Bones of the Magus was released by Broken Jaw Press.
So in addition to our three pieces, there are nine stories by relatively unknown new authors that are trying to make a name for themselves. To make it into the anthology they had to win a spot chosen by members of the sffworld forum. Here are a list of the stories:
- Executable by Hugh Howey
- Let's See What Tomorrow Brings by Igor Ljubuncic
- Julia's Garden by Michael Aaron
- Tick by Wilson Geiger
- The Last Hand by Pete McLean
- Fly the Moon to Me by Stephen "B5" Jones
- Relapse by Norman Gray
- Burning Alexandria by Michael J. Sullivan
- Silver Sky by Liam Baldwin
- Sacrifice by G.L. Lathian
- Empty by R.F. Dickson
- Mother and Child by Tristis Ward
In her introduction Nila says:
"The topics explored herein range from the silly to the profound. Some will give you hope, others will make you pray for a different end, and one might even make you smile."
For my own contribution, I had originally written a short story, Greener Grass about a man who travels far into time and finds what could be considered a dystopian or utopian world, depending on your perspective. Since the world didn't really "end" it really didn't fit the mandate of the anthology so I put that short story out as a stand alone (NOTE: That short also was the seed for a new novel I just completed entitled Hollow World, but that's for a different day and time).
So, I had to go back to the drawing board. I usually think best when I ride my bike, and my wife and I were spending the day biking around Alexandria VA when I heard the news that Ray Bradbury had died. Within just a few hours an idea came to me that allowed me to play homage to Ray and hence Burning Alexandria was born. I won't say anything more about the piece, but hope you'll read it and I'm sure you'll understand the title and the connection to Ray.
The good news is that since this project was meant to shine a spotlight, and not done "for the money" it's FREE! (Get it here) So there really is no reason not to download a copy and try out a few of these great stories. And...if you do read mine, please send me an email me here as I'd love to discuss it with you.